For millennia, people have been marking their loved ones’ final resting places with stone. These markers traditionally bear the deceased’s name, date of birth and death, and a personal message or prayer. When thinking of grave markers, most people likely imagine a headstone–a stone monument positioned at the top of a grave. But footstone grave markers are also a meaningful and traditional choice. In fact, in recent years, grave footstones have grown in popularity to the point where many cemeteries use them exclusively.
Whether you’re considering a grave footstone for yourself or a loved one, or are just curious about how this type of monument became so popular, here’s everything you need to know.
Types of Footstones
A standard footstone for graves is a flat, engraved piece of stone placed at the foot of a person’s final resting place. Like a headstone, it will often display a person’s name, birth and death dates, and a short personal message. A grave may have a headstone, a footstone, or even both at once. In cases when a grave has both a headstone and a footstone, the two will often coordinate.
If used without a headstone, a footstone can often be more decorative than the classic flat variety. Different types of grave footstones include:
- Upright footstone grave markers. If paired with a headstone, an upright footstone will usually mirror the style of the headstone on a smaller scale.
- Flat grave footstones. These are the most common type of footstone.
- Slanted or beveled footstones. These balance the simple elegance of a flat footstone with slightly more height.
Why Use a Footstone Instead of a Gravestone?
Footstone grave markers offer a few benefits. For graves with both headstones and footstones, the footstone marks the grave’s edge and can help protect it from excavation when future plots are dug. Footstone grave markers are also popular in family plots, which may contain a central monument with smaller individual markers. In addition, a footstone is often more economical than an upright headstone while still providing a meaningful and elegant marker that will stand the test of time.
Many cemetery site owners prefer footstones because they are more compact than other monuments. Some modern cemeteries may have more stringent limitations on the type of grave marker they can accommodate. In some cases, this may mean they only allow footstones rather than standing monuments. These restrictions are most common in garden-style cemeteries, which enable visitors to focus on the lawns and landscaping rather than the visual sea of stone. However, some people might prefer a more striking grave marker: an upright headstone or a more ornate footstone. For that reason, choosing a cemetery that can accommodate your specific desires is crucial.
Why Are Footstones Important?
What does placing a stone on a grave mean? From the wide use of stones for grave markers to the tradition of leaving a small pebble on a grave site, stone has long been used as a stately and beautiful monument to venerate a person’s life. The strength and longevity of stone is a powerful symbol, providing a place where loved ones can visit and honor those who have passed. Granite is by far the most popular material for grave markers due to its exceptional durability. In fact, a well-maintained granite footstone grave marker can endure for 500 years with little visible weathering.
When selecting a grave marker, granite footstones will stand the test of time. Vancouver Granite Works offers true artistry and elegance in the personal design of your choice. We encourage you to reach out any time for a free consultation on how we can help ensure your loved one’s final rest is a beautiful place of remembrance for centuries to come.